Big Hole in the Ground

Today, heading toward Prescott, AZ, we visited the Meteor Crater, which son Noah had enthusiastically recommended. He was right! It’s a privately-held property, very well presented, with beautiful architecture housing a museum, theater, gift center, rock shop, restaurant, and well designed pathways to afford the best view of the crater.

At its very bottom, were two fenced areas, where holes had been drilled by Daniel Barringer in the early 1900s, where he tried, unsuccessfully, to find fragments of the meteor to prove that it really was a meteor crater and not the result of a volcanic steam explosion. It wasn’t until the early 60s that Dr. Eugene Shoemaker (remember comet Shoemaker-Levy 9, with its multiple crashes into Jupiter?) was able to confirm Barringer’s theory with his discovery of shocked minerals and his geological analysis of the crater.

All the computer-graphic film depictions and scientific explanations in the exhibition notwithstanding, the crater is so large that it’s difficult to absorb. To provide scale, a life-sized figure of an astronaut with an American flag was set up near Barringer’s work area at the bottom of the crater. We could barely see the little figure without binoculars!

Leaving the crater, we continued west to Prescott. We left the flat plains and were suddenly in the mountains that gave us a taste of the driving to come and some beautifully forested views.

We are in the Point of Rocks Campground in Prescott, which we’ll explore tomorrow.

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